The owner of a California bakery is heading back to court after scoring repeated religious liberty victories for declining to make a same-sex wedding cake.
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Cathy Miller, owner of Tastries Bakery in Bakersfield, California, is again facing officials’ furor after the state appealed a ruling last year by the California Superior Court of Kern County that was in her favor.
Miller said her battle began in 2017, after she declined to make a cake for a gay couple and California subsequently opened an investigation into the matter.
“About six and a half years ago, we had four people come in, and it was two men and two women,” Miller said. “And I thought it was a bride and a groom and their best man and maid of honor.
But the baker soon found out she was being asked to make a wedding cake for a same-sex union — something she was unwilling to fulfill due to her Christian faith.
“I politely told them … ‘I’m sorry. I can’t hurt my Lord and Savior. I can’t participate in the union,'” Miller said, noting she offered to refer them to another bakery that would have been happy to make their cake. “And so we thought everything was fine, and everything was not fine.”
It didn’t take long for the denial story to make its way into the media and metastasize into a massive story. Miller said “social media went crazy” and harassment and “horrible emails” followed.
“I was shocked, and I know they were upset, but I did not think that it would go this far,” Miller told CBN News in a 2022 interview. “I did not realize that, within two hours, we would be bombarded by hate mail, death threats, rape threats. The media was storming into our bakery.”
Plus, a legal battle unfolded, with Miller inevitably going to court to defend her religious liberties.
Adèle Keim, an attorney with Becket who is representing Miller, said it’s surprising California continues to push the case against Miller, especially in light of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions affirming religious liberty rights.
“The State of California put Kathy through multiple depositions in a five-day trial on the merits,” Keim said. “And, at the end of all of that, the trial court judge said there was no evidence in this case that Cathy had any intent to discriminate.”
She continued, “The only evidence in the case, according to the judge, was that Cathy’s intent was to follow her sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Keim, who called Miller “a very, very principled woman of faith,” said she and Miller’s family are intent on taking the case as far as they need to — even if that means bringing it before the U.S. Supreme Court.
As for Miller, she said she had one day to celebrate last October, when she won in court before California announced plans to appeal.
“It was very disappointing,” she said. “But you know what? When God calls you to walk a path, you walk it. And we know that, with His support and His wisdom, we’ll continue to walk the path He has for us.”
And that walk hasn’t been easy, as Miller has received both support and blowback, with the latter coming among those infuriated over her refusal to make the cake. She said she’s been impacted physically, emotionally, and financially.
Amid the anger, the baker said there’s been some confusion over her intentions and made it clear the issue isn’t about declining to serve the LGBTQ community.
“This is not about not serving someone at all,” Miller said. “We have LGBT community people who come in my bakery all the time. So, I’m happy to serve everyone. This issue is: I can’t participate in the union of an LGBT couple, because it goes against my Lord and Savior. I’m not going to hurt Jesus.”
Miller recently filed a brief asking the Court of Appeal of the State of California, 5th Appellate District, to affirm the previous ruling in her favor. Watch the video for more of Miller’s story.
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